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Jay Z, Kanye West Sued for Copyright Infringement, Accused in Federal Lawsuit of ‘Stealing’ Song ‘Made in America’

First Posted: Nov 05, 2014 08:18 AM EST
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Musician Joel Mac is currently in the midst of suing hip hop superstars Jay Z, Kanye West and Frank Ocean for copyright infringement over allegations that the trio lifted the song "Made In America" from Jay's "Watch The Throne" album off a track that Mac recorded in 2009.

TMZ reports that according to the federal lawsuit filed by Mac, the musician claims that several years ago he had stationed himself outside of the Mercer Hotel in New York City, selling copies of his CD, which featured a track called "Made In America."

At that time, Jay, West and Ocean were inside the hotel, having reportedly rented out several rooms to record Jay's album "Watch The Throne." A producer on the project named Mike Dean allegedly bought a copy of Mac's CD outside the hotel when the recording was taking place.

Fast forward to the time when the "Watch The Throne" album dropped, a surprised Mac stumbled across a track on the album bearing the same name as his own "Made In America." Mac claims that the similarities don't stop with just the title and that the "Watch The Throne" version of the song sounded too much like his own for it to be just a coincidence. He insists the trio, along with Dean who is listed as a producer on Jay's album, "stole" his song.

According to a report from Ifpress, Mac first filed a lawsuit over the alleged copyright infringement in New York State earlier this year, to the tune of $3 million. However, Mac is now upping the legal ante and has taken his lawsuit to the federal level.

As a result of Mac's accusations of the copyright infringement allegations that Jay and crew "stole" the concept of his "Made In America" song that was produced prior to Jay's track, Mac says he wants a cut of the profits of the "Watch The Throne" version.

Depending on how the lawsuit plays out, Mac could stand to make a substantial amount of money if he prevails in court, due to the astronomical success of the "Watch The Throne" album sales and tour profits.

Billboard reports that the album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, with first week sales totaling 436,000 copies in the United States. In terms of the digital music world, in the first week "Watch The Throne" had the biggest one-week digital tally ever for a rap album and broke the U.S. iTunes Store's one-week sales record when it sold nearly 200,000 downloads in that time span.

Sales stayed high in the weeks following the album debut and on Oct. 15, 2011, "Watch The Throne" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of over one million copies in the U.S. As of July 2013, the album had reportedly sold 1,573,000 copies, according to Nielson SoundScan, as reported by LavaLizard.

On top of the money coming in from record sales, Jay and West promoted the album with a 34-date North American tour. The Los Angeles Times reports that the tour, which ran from Oct. 29, 2011 through Dec. 18, 2011, grossed $48.3 million. has reported the "Watch The Throne" tour as the highest grossing concert tour ever by a hip-hop act.

As of late Tuesday, none of the superstars named in Mac's lawsuit nor any of their representatives had responded to the allegations.

Click here to take a quick listen to Mac's version of "Made In America" and then click here to hear a sample taken from the "Watch The Throne" version. Tell us what you think about the similarities of the songs in the comment section below.

For the latest news & updates, follow reporter Bary Alyssa Johnson on Twitter: @MissBary

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